All Photos & Videos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012
This might seem intimidating but it is a really easy & ridiculously satisfying thing to make – once you get the hang of it. I promise you will be blown away by the results. Homemade pasta has nothing in common with dried pasta & doesn’t give you that heavy, carb-load sensation after a big bowl of it. It has a delicate flavor, too, that shouldn’t be overwhelmed with heavy sauces.
You kinda need a pasta maker but they are not that expensive. I recently bought one on Ebay for my boyfriend and I paid $35 – including shipping. Here are some samples. If you buy on Ebay – only buy from high rated sellers & be sure to look at the shipping charges when calculating the total cost.
Kitchenaid makes an attachment set for their stand mixers. So – if you own a Kitchenaid stand mixer – these are an option for you, too. They cost more but they take all the manual work out of the rolling & cutting.
If you have a food scale – the recommended ratio of egg to flour is 100 grams (14 oz) flour to one egg – and each egg represents one serving. My recipe below will be for 4 servings. The egg to flour ration is not a science, though. Some flour is more absorbent than others. Some eggs are huge – others not. Just measure out the suggested portions and, if the dough is still too wet, add flour until it isn’t. If it is too dry – you simply will not incorporate all the flour you measured out. Be sure to have lots of extra flour on hand for the rolling & cutting.
Also – just a note. The first few times you try this – don’t get too ambitious by setting out to make more than four servings. I’ve made it for twelve or more and, let me tell you, by the time you are cranking your way half way through all the dough – you begin to feel like a manual laborer in a Diego Rivera political mural. Plus, the rolled pasta begins drying out faster than you can get it cut. Not a good thing. So start small until you feel really confident.
Here are the tools I use:
A scale (nice but not necessary)
A pastry blade (nice but a spatula works, too)
The Pasta Maker (imperative)
Homemade Pasta Fettucini Noodles
400 grams (14 oz) or 2 1/2 cups all purpose, unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
Put your flour on a working surface & create a well.
Put the eggs & the salt in the well.
Whisk the eggs & salt together.
Keep whisking & incrementally bring the flour from the sides of the well into the egg mixture until it gets too thick to whisk.
Use a pastry blade or spatula to fold the rest of the flour over on top of the egg mix. REMOVE YOUR JEWELRY – as this next part gets messy. Knead the mix until you get a firm dough that is not tacky – even when you dig your fingers into it. You might not have used all the flour you poured out – or you might have had to add more. No matter. All that matters is that you have a nice softball-sized ball of dough that isn’t tacky – and isn’t crumbling apart. Once you achieve this – wash your hands.
Next – divide the dough into three or four sections & repeat the following steps with each portion.
Clamp the pasta maker firmly to your counter. Press the dough sorta flat on a floured counter & then press and edge into the roller portion of the pasta maker. The rollers should be at their widest setting. Crank the dough through. (Pardon my funky cinematography! It was hard to demonstrate & shoot video all by myself!)
Each time you crank it, you tighten the rollers by one point. Spread a little flour on the dough (both sides) and crank it through again.
NOTE: If your dough is too wet or too dry – repeatedly folding it in half after a cranking & putting it through the same setting again (and again & again – if need be) – adding flour if wetness is the issue – will solve that problem. No dough is beyond salvation! Your cranking arm might curse you – but don’t worry – four servings isn’t much & next time – you will knead your dough better! 🙂 Also – feel the rollers underneath where the dough is being spit out. Sometimes wet dough collects there and will deform or cut the pasta dough as you roll it out past that. Just wipe anything collected on the rollers with your fingers. There is nothing sharp on these machines.
For fettucini – I only roll the pasta to the second to last (or third from last – depending on the manufacturer) setting – as you do not want paper thin fettucini. Let each long pasta strip rest out on your counter while you repeat this process with the remaining dough.
Next – move the crank handle to the cutter attachment. Cut pieces of pasta in 12-14 inch chunks & run them through the cutter.
When it comes out the other side – gently toss the fettucini with some flour & put it aside on a floured surface to dry. If it is still tacky – you might need to manually pull a few noodles apart. as you progress & the pasta has been sitting, waiting to be cut, it should become dry enough that the noodles do not stick to each other.
And – there you have it! Let the noodles sit out to dry AT LEAST an hour before cooking them. They will cook in boiling water in less than 2 minutes – SO BE REALLY CAREFUL NOT TO OVERCOOK THEM! The noodles should float up to the surface of the water as they cook. When this starts – you know you are ready to start thinking about getting them out of the water. Taste one for readiness – if you like. There is NO SUCH THING as an “al dente” homemade pasta. Pasta has to start crunchy to retain crunchiness. Al Dente is the consolation prize for eating old, shelved dry pasta. Homemade pasta is the food of angels & angels like things soft & delicate! Do not salt the water, either. Homemade pasta sucks all the salt up like a sponge & you do not want that.
This kind of pasta is best served with delicate toppings – rather than heavy sauces. I will post suggestions & ideas soon.